Tag Archives: garden

Humble Garden Party.

After several horrifically hot and humid days in Central Ohio, we were gifted with a rainstorm and, consequentially, an evening with temperatures in the lower 80s. Quick to make the best of what might be a small window of good weather, my neighbors and I had an impromptu garden party.

The proper nomenclature, of course, is “grilling out,” but I’ve been looking at home design blogs recently, and in my imagination the people whose patios, decks and verandas that I covetously admire would refrain from using such low-brow terms to describe their picture-perfect gatherings.

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Hodge Podge.

As I’ve mentioned several times, this was my first year with both a vegetable CSA, and a successful garden. Both have expanded my eating horizons and forced me to digest foods beyond my typical poultry and butter. They’ve dictated my menus and forced me to spend Sunday afternoons making sauce or throwing several vegetables in the oven in a desperate attempt to avoid waste. I’ve also, as a result of the garden and CSA, found myself walking around with bags full of greens, to hand to unsuspecting passers-by or Stitch & Bitch comrades.

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No Words Necessary.

A friend has been singing the praises of Cafe Bella for months now. While I was (gratefully) stuck with a 4:45 table on Valentine’s Day at one of my favorite spots in town, she was able to saunter, without reservations, into this understated restaurant. At a decent hour. On the Amateur’s Night of dining. For a meal that was a fraction of the cost of mine, and a lot less harried. That Cafe Bella wasn’t overbooked does not reflect on the quality of the food or service. Rather, it says plenty about the unwritten constitution of the place. I made my inaugural visit to the restaurant a few weeks ago, and am a fan.

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Community Potlucks.

One of my favorite weekly food traditions almost didn’t happen. The Short North Sunday Jazz series was destined to be another casualty of the recession. A girlfriend – a community organizer, one might call her – pulled together the resources to revive the series of Sunday concerts at Goodale Park and renamed it the Goodale Park Music Series.

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These concerts, now featuring a variety of music (not just jazz), have a second draw: a community potluck. Like Maya’s picnics, but with live music, these gatherings have become a weekend must-do for me.

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The Pay-Off.

A little secret about Maya: she is in an exclusive club of two. Maya and Triple A are the only ones that send me mail that I actually don’t mind opening. About a year ago, she sent me The Kitchen Diaries, A Year in the Kitchen with Nigel Slater, through Amazon, along with a message that it reminded her of our first combined cooking experience. The book, which reads like a food blog, is always sitting out somewhere in my house. It contains both recipes and prose focused on the seasonal food in the life of Nigel Slater. Not a book to read cover-to-cover, The Kitchen Diaries provides in-the-moment inspiration. With beautiful writing and photographs, this is a great book to randomly send to a friend. (Thanks, Maya!)

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On Monday, I had a few guests over for dinner and it was clear that I needed to use the produce piling up from my CSA and garden. The book was the perfect source for recipes. I read all of the entries for June, July and August and came up with my menu: Roasted Beet Salad with Orange Dressing (an internet find), Roasted Vegetable Soup and Peach and Blueberry Sour Cream Cobbler.

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Vegetable Truce.

We’ve been failing you, friends. Maya’s weird diet thing seems to have collided with the time that my Mac finally told me that it refuses to hold any more pictures. So I’ve been using my weekly IF-time allotment to delete files (to make room for more pictures) rather than creating new content.

To add to the technical difficulties, I’ve been feeling stuck recently. This is my first year with both a CSA and a functioning vegetable garden. Rather than freeing me, the new weekly allotment of summer squash, fennel and beets have sort of put me into a corner. I’m being micromanaged by my vegetables. No longer do I have free will to cook and eat what I please. Nope. Instead, I have two bulbs of fennel sitting in my fridge at this very moment, taunting me: “If you don’t use me, you’re a failure of a Locavore.” Being someone who doesn’t like to be told what to do by her boss, let alone a bag full of basil, I’ve been tempted to eat at KFC more than ever before.

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